Centennial hosted our 2nd annual Culture Day this week. First a couple great moments shared and then some how to 🙂
A couple days before Culture Day I was feeling a bit frustrated pulling things together and wasn’t sure how much participation we would get. I shared this with a colleague and she told me a great story. After last year’s Culture Day a student in her class started wearing a hijab. She asked why the change? The student told her that she didn’t wear anything special on Culture Day. When she saw how many people were wearing clothing representing their cultures it gave her the courage and motivation to wear her hijab. Sometimes it isn’t the numbers of people participating that matters but rather connecting with the one.
At lunch we played different cultural music by request. After some songs in Arabic and some great dancing some Filipino girls requested a song. I do not know the group but based on their reaction when we played it they must be the Filipino version of K-Pop. There was much screaming and jumping up and down. Several of the boys who had been dancing to the Arabic music came over and joined their party. I complimented them after and one boy’s response was “of course we did – it’s all about celebrating culture.” That made all the work worth it.
Our Culture Day is quite simple. It started last year with students coming to me and asking to start this up. Our school is fairly homogeneous but getting more diverse every year. We put up posters, Instagram ads, and one on one invitations encouraging students to dress up representing their culture. Everything works, your culture could be Sri Lanka or Saskatchewan. I made up a poster with Scottish, Danish, and Salish Indigenous symbols representing my heritage and taped it to my shirt. We played music at lunch by request and made sure there was a mix representing different cultures and languages. We also served Costco size samples of food from different cultures.
With Ramadan beginning that evening our Elevate Diversity club also handed out book marks with information. See below for pictures. There were very few found on the floor of the hundreds handed out. A great sign of respect.
I am sure that some schools would run much bigger events to celebrate multiculturalism. But simple, and student run, sometimes trumps the big show. Making it comfortable for a student to wear her hijab or for a bunch of students to go a little crazy over Filipino K-popish music felt like a win.
Happy Almost April Everyone!!!